Four Zeeland municipalities are joining forces with entrepreneurs to promote sustainability in the tourism sector. Together with key stakeholders in the tourism industry and international partners from Friesland, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, and Sweden, they are collaborating in the 3ST project: Speeding Up Sustainable Tourism. HZ conducts the research and provides monitoring, Impuls Zeeland supervises the municipalities and entrepreneurs.

Tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors worldwide, including in Zeeland. It generates two billion euros annually, improves local amenities, and contributes to nature and area development. However, its impact on local resources and climate change is significant. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO 2019) estimates that tourism-related greenhouse gas emissions will increase to 5.3 percent of the global total by 2030. Transitioning to a sustainable sector is crucial, and circularity offers opportunities.

Practical Approach

Although technological innovations offering solutions are increasing, implementation in practice sometimes lags behind. Specific circularity skills are not equally developed in everyone. Strengthening these skills is essential for more circularity. Collaboration must also be strengthened among all key parties in the sector: governments, entrepreneurs, and suppliers. By working more efficiently together and enhancing entrepreneurs' skills, sustainability gains momentum.

Pilot Projects

The municipalities of Goes, Middelburg, Schouwen-Duiveland, and Veere are working on pilot projects on sustainable water, energy, and waste management. For example, Goes focuses on sustainable water use in the city center, while Schouwen-Duiveland focuses on waste streams in Burgh-Haamstede. These pilot projects serve as test cases for HZ University of Applied Sciences, one of the knowledge institutions in the project, in researching the strengthening of collaborations and circular skills. The research should eventually lead to a collaborative model to develop sustainable tourism.

North Sea Region

The 3ST project receives funding from the Interreg North Sea Programme 2021-2027, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The province of Zeeland and the municipalities of Goes, Middelburg, Schouwen-Duiveland, and Veere also contribute financially.

Research groups

HZ Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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Coastal Tourism Knowledge Centre

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